Earth Treasure Vase: Global Healing Project
Linking our world in a practice of planetary protection & renewal.

The Liberia Peacebuilding Project

“We will create a space where the truth is sacred, and renew our peacebuilding efforts to heal fractured communities. I am prepared to be the first to appear before it, to say what I have already said, to challenge untruths, to say what I have done and what I have not done and to demonstrate that no one is above this process of healing and truth telling.”

— President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

In the Aftermath of Liberia’s Civil War

The second Liberian Civil War ended in 2003 when the women — Christian and Muslim alike — came together in prayer and nonviolent resistance to end the conflict that had shattered the nation. They founded a movement for peace and reconciliation, grounded in their moral conviction and courage, that continues today. In 2005, Liberia held its first democratic election, resulting in the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female head of state in Africa. Sirleaf was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen. The women were recognized “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

The government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has recognized that after nearly 14 years of a destructive and divisive civil war, reconciliation remains one of its main challenges. In its final report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia recommends, among other strategies, the “palava hut peacebuilding mechanism.” The aim of this is to foster peace and dialogue and rebuild broken relationships, fostering national reconciliation and healing, beginning at the grassroots.

The palava peace hut is a traditional building that has been part of Liberian culture for many generations. Although these huts can still be seen around the countryside, during the war its significance was lost and its presence ignored even though everyone knows its purpose is to serve as a place to resolve conflict and come together in peace.

The huts draw upon a generations-old means to reconcile the wounds of war and solve conflicts independently of the courts. These structures are literally open to all sides equally and provide a neutral meeting place where members of a community can hear and impart justice. In this context, the win-lose rulings of corrupt courts can transform into win-win solutions for many civil cases.

The Origins of the Liberia Peacebuilding Project

William “Uncle Jake” Jacobs (L) and Christian Wolo Bethelson (R) with Dharmacharya Cynthia Jurs

In December 2009, Alliance for the Earth carried an Earth Treasure Vase to the hardest fought region of the country through the auspices of everyday gandhis, an organization working with ex-combatants, child soldiers, women and indigenous elders to bring healing and build peace.

Click here to learn more about the Earth Treasure Vase practice:

An Earth Treasure Vase was buried in the roots of a sacred kola nut tree in in Telewoyan Village, Lofa County, outside of Voinjama, in a community-wide ceremony on the winter solstice.

We invite you to enjoy our video journal of this remarkable ceremony and community healing:

Through the generous support of the Frost Foundation, the ETV Project journeyed to Liberia in March 2011 to tend these prayers and seeds of peace. Joyfully, we returned to participate in the community dedication of a Peace Hut constructed at the site where the ETV is buried. This hut was so well received that it was selected by the elders of Voinjama, during Liberia`s 164th Independence Day ceremony in July 2011, as the primary center for settling any future disputes amongst the citizens of Lofa County.

Please view “Life is Returning,” the dedication of the first palava peace hut on March 27, 2011, here:

Our second Peace Hut is to soon be built in Ganta, Nimba County on land given by the Mayor and City Councilors in the Gbartu Quarter which is of historical significance because it is the area where the city of Ganta first began.

Tending the Seeds of Peace

“When people I work with — former child soldiers and ex-combatants — hear the bell, it gives them a moment of mercy, a moment of freedom from the mental and emotional anguish they are living with.”

— Christian Bethelson, Liberia PeaceBuilding Project

Alliance for the Earth is now offering a unique and important program to support the creation of peace from the ground up, rebuild lives, and enhance youth and ex-combatant participation in reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts in Liberia. With our Liberian project coordinators, we will work with community leaders in all 15 counties (states) to construct palava peace huts all across the country. These Peace Huts will be used as regular community gathering places for dialogue, conflict resolution, storytelling, education and sports.

Women were the driving force in bringing the Liberian civil war to an end. A regional chapter of women in the peace movement are shown here as they continue to meet on a regular basis in one of the palava peace huts.

It is our intention that over the next four years, Peace Huts will be constructed in every county in Liberia with the location for each hut to be chosen by local community leaders and the land dedicated for this purpose. Every hut will include toilets and a hand pump well to provide much needed safe drinking water. Water and sanitation are essential for good health and after many years of civil conflict Liberians have yet to see pipe-borne water even in the cities. Women walk miles carrying unclean water for use in the villages and everyone, most especially the children in the rural areas, are at risk of contracting water-borne diseases every day of their lives.

Dedication of the Telewoyan Village peace hut, March 2011

Our Liberia Partners

William G, Jacobs (“Uncle Jake”), Project Coordinator, grew up in rural Liberia on the Firestone Plantation in a poor, uneducated family. He worked hard to go to school and was on his way to college when the civil war forced him into exile in Ghana where he lived in a refugee camp for 18 years. After losing way to addiction and depression, he gradually turned his life around and became an advocate for orphaned children and youth. He received a diploma in journalism and public relations and worked as a newspaper reporter. He then chose to serve the refugee community’s orphaned and impoverished children and their single mothers, becoming the Executive Director of the Liberian Dance Troupe and developing innovative programs including a trauma recovery and cultural awareness program. In 2004, he was recruited by the NGO everyday gandhis to serve as their Acting Coordinator in Liberia and returned to his home country. “Uncle Jake,” as he is affectionately called by children everywhere, currently works with ex-child soldiers to facilitate healing and recovery that draws on storytelling and soccer to build team spirit, heal the wounds of war and teach young people the ways of peace.

Christian Wolo Bethelson, Field Coordinator, spent 27 years in the Liberian National Army, was trained in Libya, Israel and Romania, and served as one of President Samuel Doe’s personal bodyguards. When Charles Taylor took power, Bethelson was imprisoned and tortured. After 3 years, he was released and joined the rebel forces, fighting under the name General Leopard. Out of work after the 14-year civil war ended, he decided to fight in the Ivory Coast, but through a series of unexpected events that changed the course of his life, he became a man of peace. He now works to mentor former child soldiers and other ex-combatants, inspiring them to turn away from war and build peace. Bethelson speaks numerous languages and tribal dialects and enjoys drumming, dancing and singing. He lives with his wife Rebecca and four children in Monrovia, Liberia.

A wonderful account of Bethelson’s story can be found here at Yes! Magazine.

Get Involved

This humble, grassroots effort clearly can make a difference in the lives of many communities throughout Liberia with each community providing the land, design and labor for their own Peace Hut and well. Our coordinators will bring people together on a regular basis to dialogue, tell stories, meditate, pray, eat, dance, and play soccer, thus laying a strong foundation for peace to take root in Liberia. With each brick of every hut, we hope and pray that peace becomes stable and this program becomes self-sustaining over the next four years.

Jake and Bethelson with Sister Peace at Deer Park Monastery

A little goes a long ways in Liberia:

$3000 builds a Peace Hut

$5000 builds a village well

$250 contributes to the education of one young person for a year

Tend the seeds of peace in Liberia today by supporting the Peacebuilding Project with your most generous contribution here. Thank you! (When making your donation, please specify that it is for Liberia.) For more information, please contact Alliance for the Earth at

“The next Buddha will be a sangha.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh